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Discuss Plutarch's View of Anthony and Cleopatra's Relationship

  • Date Submitted: 04/18/2011 02:54 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.8 
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Plutarch’s view of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra seems to comprise

of the key components of any lustrous infatuation, something, which was regarded by

the Romans as showing a weakness of character.

  At the start of the extract Plutarch informs us that Cleopatra provides Antony with

‘fresh delight and charm’ providing relief from his usual ‘hours of seriousness or

mirth’, which in itself appears like any normal courtship but he then hastens to add

that she releases him ‘neither night nor day’, which adds an obsessive and intense

passion to their relationship, which is devoid of real love or romance.

  Plutarch then follows by saying that Cleopatra keeps Antony in constant ‘tutelage’,

which gives her a more formal almost superior role in their relationship. All talk of

charm and delight is now eradicated as we learn that it is she who is wearing the

proverbial trousers whilst he remains her besotted follower desperate to please and


  Cleopatra is portrayed by Plutarch as having a tremendous hold over Antony. She is

the seductive and manipulative temptress and this grasp that she holds him within is

echoed a number of times throughout the extract. Antony is clearly desperate to

impress her as he fakes his fishing skill, ‘he therefore ordered his fishermen to dive

down and secretly fasten to his hook some fish’ However Cleopatra is no fool and

only pretends to ‘admire her lover’s skill’, which is the only piece of affection shared

between them in the extract and even this display appears maternal without romantic


  Antony’s second attempt at impressing Cleopatra is foiled and he suddenly finds

himself made a mockery of. Plutarch has taken this hunter of ‘cities, realms and

continents’ and presented him as a naïve child succumbing to the ‘great laughter’ and

superiority of the adults surrounding him.

  The final echo of Cleopatra having...


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